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The Night

Off-topic Sunday from Sideburn's editor.

Frankie Valli. You know the name. As easy-listening as it comes, and with back catalogue of hits big and popular enough to form the basis of a super-successful and long-running live musical, Jersey Boys. The biggest hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons play on the lead singer's falsetto and the often high-pitched harmonising of the backing singers. Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man. If you're of a certain age you'll have re-read that last song title in a strained soprano of your own

So, it might surprise you that one of the most popular Northern Soul songs of all time is by Frankie Valli (without the Four Season). Northern Soul is so called because it's a certain type of high-tempo 60s and 70s soul music that became popular in the clubs of Midlands and Northern England, from the lates-60s and throughout the 1970s. The most popular venues are the now legendary Wigan Casino and Manchester's Twisted Wheel, but there were many more in provincial towns. The best were big, old dancehalls, with large, polished wooden dancefloors, designed for ballroom dancing. Very different to the discos of the 1970s. The Northern Soul events rarely had live music, the DJs were the stars, finding rare songs, failures that rarely charted, but had a beat that would suit the amphetamine-fuelled dancers. The Saturday night events were all-nighters, not ending until long after sun-up on Sunday morning, and attracted coaches full of dancers from all over the north and Scotland. There is a still a strong Northern Soul scene across the Midlands and North of England.

The Night remains a staple of the scene, and is a warning to a woman to not fall for the manipulative man chasing her, who put her in an 'ivory tower'.

I absolutely love the song, and recently saw this 2017 promo film for Gucci based around it. It certainly made me want to buy a £1600 stripy jumper and some £185 socks. It also made me want to glide around a polished dancefloor in some slidey shoes. GI

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